Once upon a time, nightlife in Bugis was the talking point of the town. The neighbourhood used to be a magnet for sailors from overseas, and come nightfall, the streets would fill up with entertainers, transvestites and markets stalls - all doing their best to keep the visiting military personnel occupied. Nowadays, any discussion of Singapore’s most famous nightlife usually shies away from this multicultural neighbourhood, which today is generally thought of as more of a shopping district.
However, with our list of the 10 Best Nightlife in Bugis and Kampong Glam (the Arab quarter of the area), there’s plenty of evidence as to why venturing this way for a night out would be a wise decision. With bustling late night cafes, hip cocktail hangouts and the odd Thai disco and ‘KTV lounge’ popping up on a regular basis, it might not be long before Bugis gets its reputation back. Read on to find our choice of the 10 Best in Bugis!
Hood Bar and Cafe at Bugis
If you like your music loud, your art quirky and your cocktails potent, look no further than Hood Bar and Cafe at Bugis. This hip joint is just a block away from the main Bugis MRT station, and hosts some of the best local musical talent who play a range of indie, acoustic, jazz and soft rock. The venue is decked out in colourful artwork and you can also have a look around at a few interesting pieces hanging from the walls. The main central bar is pretty funky too, designed with a typical Chinese temple theme complete with a traditional red rood and Chinese engravings. The place is pretty big for a ‘cafe’ but it can get quite full on the weekends – so arrive early for the best seats.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Tue 17:00 - 01:00, Wed - Fri 17:00 - 03:00, Sat 12:00 - 03:00, Sun 12:00 - 01:00
- Address: Inside Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street #05-07
- Tel: +65 6221 8846
Golden Mile Complex
Come nightfall, the Golden Mile Complex – sometimes referred to as ‘Little Thailand’ – transforms from a shopping/dining centre into a complex of beer bars, KTV lounges and naughty late night Thai discos. Most of the local male clientele come with some cash to splash, whilst most of the females in the building tend to be the ones working, be it singing, dancing or serving drinks. If you’re missing Thailand and yearning for a Chang beer or some cheesy Thai pop, all in some ever-so friendly and unpretentious surroundings, the Golden Mile Complex does offer a fun and interesting night out in Singapore.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 Daily. Club/bar opening times vary.
- Address: 5001 Beach Road
Divine Wine Singapore
Entering Divine Wine Bar at Parkview Square is like stepping back in time: just where you’re exactly supposed to be ‘back in time’ is a bit of a confusing matter. The worn-out (but very impressive) Michelangelo-esque ceiling takes you back to the 16th century, whilst the 1920’s Art Deco fixtures and the 1960’s furniture complicates things even more. Despite the obvious mish-mash of styles, the end result is quite incredible. This enormous lobby bar really does everything is grand proportions, with its ceiling towering 15 meters above your head, a 12 meter high bar installation and a wine cellar that holds over 3000 bottles of red, white and sparkling. There’s also a sturdy range of cocktails, beers and light snacks if you don’t fancy the wine. Divine Wine Bar is easy to find in the lobby of Parkview Square, a short walk from Bugis MRT.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 01:00 Daily
- Address: Parkview Square Lobby, 600 North Bridge Road
- Tel: +65 6396 4466
Kilo Lounge opened on the top floor of the 66 Kampong Bugis Building at the start of 2014, following in the footsteps of its older brother ‘Kilo Kitchen’ (on the ground floor), as well as range of other trendy joints in what might be one of Singapore’s hippest buildings. With its regular late night events, Kilo Lounge has quickly earned a reputation for hosting some warehouse-style parties, complete with a strict underground music policy, less strict dress code and some rather ambiguous closing times (eg. ‘it ends when you leave’). Come at a more civilised hour to delve into their surprisingly sophisticated (but pricey) cocktail menu, or try the Japanese’s food at ‘Kilo Kitchen’ on the ground floor. The nearest station is lavender but you’ll probably need to hail a taxi from there.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 18:00 - late (varies according to events)
- Address: 66 Bugis Kampong (Level 8)
- Tel: +65 6467 3987
If there’s one thing that Bar Stories specialises in, then it’s their unique cocktails that’ll leave you both impressed and intrigued. One thing that Bar Stories isn’t so big on, however, is its supply of menus – as there are none. Instead, mixologists craft cocktails to cater for your individual tastes and requests, although we’re pretty sure that they’ve got a tried-and-tested list of cocktails stored mentally, rather than on paper. Having no drinks menu, (and thus not really knowing what combination of spirits you’re putting into your body) is a bold move, but one that has clearly worked for Bar Stories. This swanky spot consistently ranks alongside Singapore’s finest cocktail bars, as well as making our very own list of Bugis’s best nightlife!
- Opening Hours: Sun - Thu 16:00 - 01:00, Fri - Sat 16:00 - 02:00
- Address: 57A Haji Lane
- Tel: +65 6298 0838
Cafe le Caire @Al Majlis
Cafe le Caire @ Al Majlis is more of a restaurant, serving up some excellent Middle Eastern Food (a given, considering its central Kampong Glam location on Arab Street). However, this stylish venue makes our list of the best nightlife in the area for that fact that it stays open ridiculously late (05:30 on the weekends and 03:30 in the week). Their swanky lounge area is great for some late night chilling, and their range of fine Turkish/Egyptian coffee is the best you’ll find going in the early hours of the morning. With no alcoholic drinks on the menu, Cafe le Caire @ Al Majlis is one of our favourite teetotal late-night joints in Singapore.
- Opening Hours: Sun - Thu 10:00 - 03:30, Fri - Sat 00:00 - 05:30
- Address: 39 Arab Street
- Tel: +65 6292 0979
Beavers Pub & Grill
For cheap beers and feel-good American food in the Bugis area, look no further than Beavers Pub & Grill. Located just a couple of blocks away from Bugis MRT on Liang Seah Street, this no-thrills diner has some great happy hour offers, including two pints of Hoegaarden or Stella for S$20 and a list a cheap cocktails. Their menu wins no prizes for gourmet dining, nor does it try to either, with large and sloppy servings of steak, wings, pasta, ribs and roast chicken to name a few. They also lay on fun Friday night parties where you’ll find an anything-goes atmosphere – helped in no small part by the skimpily dressed stage dancers.
- Opening Hours: Daily 15:00 till late
- Address: 33 Liang Seah Street
- Tel: +65 6338 4595
Whilst there’s a plentiful supply of great cafes, bars and the odd club in the area, Bugis is really considered as more of a shopping destination. With that in mind, there’s no way we could ignore the bustling Bugis Street Market, which really comes alive at night. When the sun goes down, so do the temperatures, meaning that tackling this gauntlet of 800 shops and vendors is a far more comfortable and laid back experience. Why not combine shopping at Bugis Street Market (before it closes at 10pm) with dinner nearby, before hitting one of our other Top 10 entries for some drinks to make a perfect night out in Bugis! Read More...
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 22:00 Daily
- Address: 4 Bugis Street (and around)
- Tel: +65 6338 9513
Hippie-hangout ‘Going Om’ on the oh-so-cool Haji Lane is one of the few genuine dive bars in Singapore. Inspired by ‘the spirit of the Nepali mountains’ (need we say more), Going Om really has gone all out for the whole rough-and-ready look, with tired looking rugs and cushions strewn over the place, exposed brick work and plug-in fans cooling you off instead of air-con. If you’re into the whole tree-hugging vibe, or just fancy a change of pace from Singapore’s more polished nightlife scene, Going Om actually presents a pretty fun and friendly option. They also have Sheesha, decent beer deals, and hold the odd live music event.
- Opening Hours: Midday - late, every day
- Address: 63 Haji Lane
- Tel: +65 6297 9197
Blu Jazz Cafe
This artsy cafe oozes personality with its live music performances and multicoloured theme, and is one of the few venues in the immediate Kampong Glam neighbourhood where you can get served an alcoholic drink late at night. The three-storey building has some great alfresco dining the ground floor, whilst on the second you’ll find a bar/dance floor and there’s a chill out zone on the third. Come on the weekend to find the surprisingly talented local DJ doing his best to fill the dance floor, or midweek for their comedy night (advisable to check exact dates with the phone number proved below!)
- Opening Hours: 12:00 - 01:00 (later on weekends)
- Address: 11 Bali Lane
- Tel: +65 6292 3800